The problem of inequality between black and white people, racism and the injustice of dividing people into categories has been and is discussed very often in books, films, songs and all other possible forms of art and culture. Directed by Peter Farrelly, the 2018 film Green Book explores the intricacies of this particular topic. Let’s try to find out what the film Green Book is about and what its meaning is.
What is Green Book about?
The cover of the film was not chosen at all by chance, the organizers chose a random beautiful and eye-catching frame from the film for a reason: the film’s narrative is a road-movie or, in other words, “road movie”. Indeed, most of the timekeeping takes place in the car under the most delicious “gravy” in the form of light and understandable, but loaded with meaning, dialogues. The nickname of the protagonist Tony – “Chatterbox” fit perfectly into the storyline of the picture and further in the article we will use just such a character name. From the very beginning to the very end, we are constantly confronted with the worlds of the main characters: Tony from the “ghetto” area filled with under-gangsters, and the famous musician Dr. Don Shirley from the higher-ranking “secular” society.
But the main antithesis of the film is the comparison of the world of white and black people, a vivid contrast of their rights and obligations, opportunities and the attitude of the people around them towards them. How did life manage to bring such different people together? Everything is quite simple: Chatterbox is looking for a job or at least some part-time job, and the Doctor just needs a driver for the duration of his musical tour. The relationship of the characters is first built on a common hostility, based on a misunderstanding of each other’s traditions and foundations. But in the end (spoiler!) they become almost best friends. That’s the twist, tell me!
Meaning of the film Green Book
Let’s look at the question that obviously interests you: what the hell is the meaning of the name? Again, the answer is quite simple and uncomplicated enough that the viewer will be able to uncover this mystery on their own when viewing. The fact is that the Doctor took with him an American guide specifically for black people with a list of safe (and this is absolutely not an absurd thing for that time) places for them.
The rapprochement of the two characters occurs on the basis of Tony’s immediate task – to protect the interests of his employer-boss for a fee. Traveling with the Doctor, “Chatterbox” discovers a completely different side of racism and attitudes towards black citizens. Therefore, when Tony witnesses Shirley being treated disrespectfully, he begins to defend him the way he knows how – with his fists.
But not throughout the entire film, the main character does this just for the sake of money: towards the end, he himself personally understands all the absurdity and cruelty of such behavior and defends the Doctor based on personal interests and beliefs. Disgust for dark-skinned people, coming not only from others, but even from the “Chatterbox” himself, is clearly demonstrated to the viewer throughout the entire duration. An interesting maneuver in the creation of characters is the combination in the hero Dr. Don Shirley of the refinement, delicacy, politeness and good breeding inherent in people of the upper cultural class, and dark skin, which is a direct sign of a narrow mind and exclusively working class.
Such an eye-catching image draws even more sharply the problem of racism, which was widespread and actively developing in those days. The film is absolutely not devoid of classic American jokes and appropriate sarcasm, due to which it is quite calm and relaxed to watch. A simple, devoid of various kinds of embellishment, understandable to every viewer, the image of the hard life of an ordinary person has always attracted and will continue to attract a large audience.
Few people like the notoriously well-known and hated stereotypes, no matter what they concern. the director deliberately destroys the established conventions and forms of narration, “paints a picture with extensive hard strokes”, highlighting the main ideas and judgments in bold type. Farrelly (judging by the reviews and rental of the film) completely successfully conveyed the main idea to the viewer, while maintaining a convenient form of narration and incredibly cute, not only in appearance, but also in the mind of the main characters!